The only U.S. entry set to compete in the section modeled on Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, “Lingua Franca” is Sandoval’s third work. It follows “Apparition” (2012), a period drama about cloistered Filipina nuns praised by Variety’s Richard Kuipers as an “outstanding sophomore feature.”
Produced by Tony- and Grammy-winning Filipino producer Jhett Tolentino, and by Darlene Malimas and Carlo Velayo, “Lingua Franca” is set in Brighton Beach, New York, where a transgender Filipina immigrant named Olivia – played by Sandoval, who is herself transgender – scrambles to avoid deportation. She becomes involved with a Russian slaughterhouse worker who is unaware that she’s trans.
Venice Days artistic director Giorgio Gosetti said that this year’s selection is characterized